Back in the late 1870s Britain was fueled by coal. Steam trains used coal to power train engines, and the man who shoveled the coal into the furnace wore a one-piece garment as that was safer than wearing separate pants and a shirt – as an all in one garment was much less likely to get caught on all the levers and hooks in the driver’s cab. Large municipal and office buildings all had boiler rooms, where men loaded coal into furnaces that boiled water for the hot water and heating the building.
The boiler suit was practical. Roomy and made of lightweight but robust fabric, it could be worn on top of regular clothing if necessary, and was suitable to be worn for indoor or outdoor work. This practical cover-all-garment was soon adopted by all sorts of workmen to keep regular clothing clean while doing jobs that could be messy: mechanics, painters and decorators, plumbers, and all sorts of manual workers adopted the boiler suit as an unofficial uniform. Amateurs adopted this garment for their DIY (Do It Yourself) jobs at home. Later, when air planes came along, the boiler suit became the basis of the flight suit design – simple, practical and comfortable.
Just over one hundred years later, this humble workman’s garment was hijacked by the fashion industry and turned into a wardrobe staple for the 1980s boy or girl about town. Boiler suits were made from fun fabrics – florals or abstracts, in bright and in pastel colors as well as the more traditional khaki, navy, black or white. Accessories like tie belts were added, along with chunky bead necklaces (for both boys and girls), or a bandana at the neckline.
The boiler suit in this pattern is inspired by the traditional workman’s cover-all outfit. It has a back yoke with a hanging loop and a pleated back bodice to allow for movement during work activities. It features back pants patch pockets and a breast pocket. The front is cut in one piece and fastens with buttons or hook and loop tape. There is a casing at the waist, suitable for a tie belt or for a more formal belt style. A paracord clip can be added to the belt to give a more military look if preferred. There’s a choice of sleeves: long tapered sleeves, or mock rolled sleeves with a button tab.
Whether your doll plans to work as a mechanic in the car workshop, or is off to the 1980s themed disco party, this pattern is sure to be a much-loved outfit!
This PDF sewing pattern, by Genniewren Designs, is designed to fit 18 inch dolls such as American Girl®.
Recommended Fabrics: This pattern is designed for woven fabrics. The boiler suit should be made from light to medium weight woven fabric such as cotton poplin, broadcloth, quilter's cottons, chambray or lightweight denim. This pattern is not suitable for heavy denim such as jeans fabric.
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Skill Level: Intermediate
What You Get: One 37 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides full color step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available.
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